35mm film photography has come a long way since the days of traditional film cameras. While digital cameras have certainly revolutionized the way we take, edit, and share photographs, there is still something alluring and charming about the old-school charm of using a film camera for photography.
And while digital cameras have largely taken over the market, there are still plenty of photography enthusiasts and professionals who prefer to shoot on film. Whether it’s for the unique aesthetic or the nostalgia of using a vintage camera, 35mm film photography still remains a popular choice among many photographers today.
So, if you’re interested in exploring the world of 35mm film photography, it’s important to understand the different types of film available, their characteristics, and how they can affect the overall look and feel of your photographs.
Types of 35mm Film and Their Characteristics
Before you can get started with 35mm film photography, it’s important to be familiar with the different types of film available.
Black and White: Black and white film provides classic, timeless results that are perfect for street photography, studio portraits, and more. It has a wide exposure latitude, which means it can easily capture details in both bright highlights and dark shadows.
- Color Negative: Color negative film produces natural-looking colors and has a low contrast compared to other types of film. This means it can capture details in both light and dark areas without losing detail.
- Color Positive: Also known as slide film, color positive film is known for its bright and vibrant colors, making it perfect for landscape, nature, and travel photography. However, it has a much narrower exposure range compared to other films, so it’s important to be precise with your exposure when shooting with this type of film.
- Infrared: Infrared film is unique in that it captures a completely different wavelength of light than traditional film. This results in dreamy, surreal images that can be quite striking. However, shooting with infrared film often requires specialized equipment and techniques.
- Low ISO: Low ISO film is great for shooting in low-light situations, such as inside or at night. It has a slow ISO, which means it can capture sharp, detailed images in difficult lighting conditions.
Factors to Consider When Choosing 35mm Film for Your Photography
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the different types of 35mm film available, it’s important to consider factors such as lighting, shooting style, and artistic vision when choosing the right film for your needs.
- Lighting: The amount and quality of light available in your environment should be taken into consideration when choosing film. For example, shooting in bright outdoor light may require a film with a lower ISO to avoid overexposure, while indoor settings may require a faster film to make up for the lower light.
- Film Speed: Film speed, or ISO, determines how sensitive your film is to light. A higher ISO will produce faster shutter speeds and be more tolerant to underexposure, but may also produce more grain in your final images.
- Artistic Vision: Ultimately, the type of film you choose will depend on your personal artistic style and vision. Some may prefer the muted, timeless look of black and white, while others may favor the vibrant colors of slide film.
Best Practices for Shooting with 35mm Film
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the different types of 35mm film available and factors to consider when choosing the right film, let’s take a look at some best practices for shooting with film.
- Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try different types of film and explore different shooting styles to find what works best for you.
- Pay Attention to Lighting: Ensure that you’re shooting with the right film for your lighting conditions to ensure the best possible outcome for your images.
- Practice Patience: Shooting with film requires more patience than digital photography. You only have a limited number of shots to work with, so take the time to focus on the details and compose every shot according to your liking.
- Shoot RAW: Shooting RAW will provide you with the greatest flexibility for editing and post-processing.
- Ditch the presets: While presets can be a good starting point for editing, avoid using them as a crutch. Take the time to craft your images from scratch for a more unique aesthetic.